Rep. Haaland Leads Bill to Increase Access to the Ballot Box Through Same-Day Voter Registration

Navajo voters line up to cast ballots in both tribal and Arizona elections in November 2012. Photo by Jaynie Parrish

Published February 28, 2019

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) continued her work to increase access to the ballot box by introducing the Same-Day Voter Registration Act. The bill would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require states to provide same-day voter registration for federal elections during early voting and on election day. Haaland leads 19 co-sponsors on the bill which was introduced this afternoon.

“If a person shows up to vote and is eligible, they should be able to participate in our democracy. However, as an organizer working throughout New Mexico, I witnessed first-hand how unnecessary registration requirements can make voting inaccessible, especially for those in harder to reach areas. This legislation solves that problem and ensures we’re protecting every voter’s right to cast their ballot,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland.

Rep. Deb Haaland

Seventeen states, plus the District of Columbia already have this common sense voter registration provision. A report by the Project Vote shows that same-day voter registration consistently works to increase turnout; the States with the highest voter turnout in the country in 2016 and 2018 have same-day voter registration provisions. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is currently leading the effort for same-day voter registration on the state level, where a bill is making its way through the legislature.

“Same-day voter registration makes it easier for eligible voters to participate in their democracy, plain and simple. Not allowing eligible voters to register during the last weeks and days before an election – just as some people are giving serious thought to how they will vote – negatively affects voter turnout because it puts up another barrier to the ballot box. Voter registration deadlines are largely holdovers from a time when election officials maintained voter rolls by hand. But we now have the technology, infrastructure, and security in place to make same-day voter registration a reality. Congresswoman Deb Haaland is a committed voting rights advocate and she’s proving it again today with her introduction of the Same-Day Voter Registration Act,” said New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Same-day registration also helps to address inaccuracies in voter rolls; without this provision, many voters will continue to find themselves unexpectedly unable to cast a ballot because of a change in name or address, which disproportionately impacts women, young people, people of color, and lower-income Americans.

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